A new center opening Tuesday at USC seeks to bridge the political gap with a new model for inquiry that combines scholarly research, education and practical politics.

The Center for the Political Future, at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, aims to address the most stark political divide in modern memory, spanning from the #resist movement on the left to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain on the right and beyond, according to the university.

The center is led by longtime Democratic political strategist Robert Shrum and veteran GOP strategist Michael Murphy.

“The Center for the Political Future aims to be the premiere entity on the west coast that combines the power of academic research and education with the practical wisdom and experience of political leaders, activists, and journalists to foster public dialogue in civil and constructive ways,” Shrum said.

“Our goal is to create an environment where individuals with different political views can seek common ground and — even when they disagree — respect and listen to other viewpoints,” he said.

Shrum and Murphy, the center’s director and co-director, respectively, believe the nation is at a critical point, amid the deterioration of civil, fact-based political discourse.

“This is a moment to step up and redirect the conversations, to surmount the challenges of rancorous rhetoric and fake news, to pave the path toward a genuine exchange of ideas, and to enrich the education of tomorrow’s leaders by modeling new approaches for engagement,” Murphy said.

Each year, the center will hold conferences where scholars and practitioners focus on vital issues and significant developments in the public square. This academic year’s conferences, to be held after the November midterm elections, will include the Law-Warschaw Practical Politics Conference and a joint conference with USC Dornsife’s Wrigley Institute that will explore the politics of climate change.

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